I want to let you all know that this newest chapter of "New Kid In School" is VERY special to me, for the simple fact that this now marks my 100th STORY written!!! I thought it only appropiate that I go back to the series that started it all, to celebrate! Thank you all SO much for making it possible for me to keep writing and express what was in my heart. I'm a better person, thanks to your love and support. I truly hope you like this chapter, and the many more to come! Let me know what you think at comicality@webtv.net or stop by my website to see the OTHER '99' STORIES (Woo Hoo!) at http://www.ghouldrool.com/comicality/ (And don't forget to sign the guestbook!)

"New Kid In School:"
34th Chapter

I was still finishing my breakfast when Ryan came knocking at my back door before school. I looked up from my bowl of cereal to see his smiling face in the window, and I floated over to open up the door. "Dude...come here. Check this out!" He said.


"Just come here!" He took me by the hand and pulled me outside and around the back to see Tyler standing outside in front of his house. It was a bit early for him to be taking off for school. If he left his house this early he might mess around and actually be...on TIME or something? But there he was, dressed up in his 'cute', but not too formal, school clothes, with his backpack slung over one of his slim shoulders. He was leaning against a tree with such a 'fashion model' type of grace, and seemed to be nervously fixing his blond hair a bit with his hands.

I looked over at Ryan, who was smiling and shaking his head. "What...?" I said. "I don't get it."

"Why don't you go over and ask him what he's doing? Go ahead." Ryan giggled. I shrugged my shoulders and crossed the street to see what the angelic blond one was up to now.

I approached him with a side glance and said, "Good morning Ty..."

"Hey..." He said with a nervous lopsided grin.

I waited a few seconds for him to say something more, but he just looked at his watch instead. "Tyler...exactly what are you doing out here?"

"Hehehe...leave me alone already! Geez! Did Ryan drag you out of bed or something? It's not THAT big a deal!" Tyler blushed a bit, and I had to admit that I was a bit lost.

"I'm afraid he didn't tell me much of anything, so you're gonna have to fill me in with some details, dude."

"Sigh..." The most adorable smile spread over Tyler's face, and his sigh was enough to gently blow a few strands of his golden hair up out of his eyes. "...Ariel and I are walking to school together today. That's all. No big deal. I don't know why Ryan finds that so special."

"So why are you standing out here? Isn't Ariel's house on the way to school?" I asked.

"Well...yeah...but..." Tyler blushed an even deeper shade of red and mumbled, "He wanted to come pick me up here instead."

"That's quite a bit out of his way, isn't it?"

"Yeah, but he lives closer to school. And he...uh...he said if we walked from here it would take longer...and we could spend some more time walking together...that's all." He smiled bashfully as it took a second for what he just said to sink in. I'm not sure if he saw it on my face or in my eyes, but he knew that I was about to start laughing and reached out a hand to cup over my mouth and stop me. "SHUT UP!!! DON'T say it!"

"Oh my GOD....that is soooo CUTE! Hahaha!"

"I TOLD you, we're just walking to school!"

"Ohhhhh no! This is definitely a gesture of true romantic 'mush', dude!" Tyler smiled while continuously trying to cover my mouth and keep me from giggling, without much success. Across the street, Ryan was laughing outloud himself.

"You guys...I swear!" Ty leaned back against the tree and pouted a bit, trying to make his grin disappear while his bottom lip poked out in such a lovable grimace.

I stopped giggling long enough to playfully slug him in the shoulder, "Awwww...c'mon! I'm KIDDING! I think it's sweet! I've got to admit that I never saw this coming."

"You two are always making fun of me..." Ty looked down at the ground, and I really think he was genuinely embarrased.

"Tyler...we're not making fun, we're HAPPY for you!" He shyly hid a huge smile from me by turning his head, but I had already caught him in the act. "Come on! LOOK at you! You're all girly and smitten, this is way abnormal for you! I've never seen anybody have this kind of effect on you." I said, giving him a few gentle pushes and a little poke in the ribs.

"Cut it out..." He giggled quietly.

I straightened up my smile and put a hand on his shoulder, "Seriously...it's good to see you happy Ty. I mean that."

That said, Tyler brushed his blond locks back, the sun catching every hair and making it glow brightly with it's rays, and he said, "Thanks Randy. Sigh...I never thought I'd be this far gone over somebody again." He moved forward and gave me a hug. A tender hug that let me know how truly happy he was at that moment. And seconds later, I felt Ryan smash into both of us from the side and playfully hug us as tight as his arms would allow.

"Well, I wasn't about to let you two stand here looking like a couple of homos!" Just then, I saw Ariel coming around the block from what must have been a pretty decent walk from his house, and we all broke up the group hug.

"Ariel! What brings you to this side of town so early in the morning?" I shouted out, and Ryan tugged on my arm to shut me up.

"Don't mind the maniac here. You two have a good long walk." Ryan started to pull me back accross the street, and Ariel bashfully pushed his bag further up on his shoulders, making sure to look away and hide his nervous eyes from us. Somehow I don't think Ariel wanted us to know what was going on that morning, but once his eyes met Tyler's, it was as if Ryan and I weren't there at all. Vanished in an instant along with the rest of the world. Ariel, then, just smiled at us timidly and asked Tyler if he was ready to go.

"Yeah...I'm ready when you are." Tyler said dreamily. "Later guys."

"Bye..." Ariel whispered, and his attention went right back to his companion for the morning. As they got a couple of steps away, I saw Ariel reach in his bag and show Tyler his sketchbook. Hehehe, I guess his heartfelt 'masterpiece' was finished at last.

"Awwww...can you believe how adorable they are? I'm getting a lump in my throat here." Ryan grinned.

"I KNOW where you're getting your lumps, and you should put a holster on that thing." I said looking down at his pants.

"Har-har! Why don't you go finish your cereal, smart guy? Then maybe you and ME can think about walking to school together."

"Psh! As if!" I grinned, "I only date you because of your wheels, sweetheart." and I walked back towards my house.

"Hehehe! Whatever! Just hurry up bitch!"

"Alright, alright already! I'll be back in a minute." I said, and wolfed down the rest of my soggy breakfast before running out to join my escort. We could have gotten there on time, but decided to walk afterall. Besides, we were kinda 'inspired' after Ty and Ariel put on such a sweet display. We even made sure to take a different route than usual so as not to catch up and disturb the dynamic duo in front of us just in case they slowed down their pace at all. They deserve some quiet time.

When we got to our history class, taking our appropiate seats next to each other, I noticed Hailey walking in the front door. I was expecting her to give Ryan the usual cold shoulder, but he didn't even get THAT much this time around. This time she walked by as though he didn't exist at all. As usual, her very presence forced Ryan's eyes down to his desktop immediately, bringing a screeching halt to all conversation. He clammed up and waited for his desk to get bumped or his books knocked over or something, but when she ignored him I think it bugged him just as much, if not worse. Is it even fair for her to hold a grudge for this long? I wish she'd drop it already. He didn't mean to hurt her, it just so happens that things didn't work out. I really thought that she was too much of a 'surface' person to let it bother her so much. 'Surface', meaning someone who basically believes that if it doesn't mess up her hair or break a nail, it's not that big a deal. Maybe I was being harsh, but I didn't think Hailey had any real emotions to damage.

"She's gonna hate me forever, isn't she? I know it." Ryan mumbled under his breath. And he left it at that. I was beginning to wonder if I should ask for her to have a little mercy on the poor kid. It's not that he couldn't live without her, not by any means. But he's not used to being hated by anybody. The only people in school who weren't in love with or in awe of Ryan, were the ones that didn't know him. And even they thought he was cool from a distance. This is definitely a blotch on his 'perfect' social record. "This sucks." He whispered to himself, and just opened his notebook to doodle a bit and get his mind off of it.

He was actually pretty much silent for the rest of the class period. Hailey's complete dismissal of him must have hit a nerve somewhere, and now he was afraid to even smile in her presence. Just having the boy I love so much trying to survive through this little 'game' that she was playing was causing me to mentally shoot daggers back in her direction. After all this time...here we are right back at square one.

At the end of class, Hailey stood up and marched passed Ryan and I without a word and left so fast that even her horde of teen girl 'followers' had to rush to catch up. Ryan attempted to work up a silly grin for me again, but I could tell just by looking into his hazel eyes that it wasn't real. It showed in the slump of his shoulders, the tone of his voice...it was almost painful to look at. Just then, we both saw Wil and his undercover boyfriend, Tommy, walking towards us. I waved at them to say hello, and Wil happily said 'hi' with a smile as he walked passed. But Tommy...not a word. Never a word. He always looked down at the floor or pretended not to see me. Some days, he would look directly AT me and not say anything. I know that it can be really hard admiting that you're gay, but he seems to be struggling with it a lot worse than most. Wil was one of those kids who seems to be comfortable with his sexuality even though he doesn't flaunt it around. But Tommy is letting the paranoia get the best of him, and he's getting more and more uncomfortable with the idea that I 'know' about the two of them. It's NOT like I would tell anybody...but just knowing what I know is enough to make me a potential 'enemy' in his world. That alone keeps him away from anywhere that I might be.

Ah well, Wil is still a cheerful boy. And if he loves Tommy as much as he says he does, then he must be an ok guy too. "I should go. Later." Ryan said under his breath. Geez, he was really feeling down about this whole Hailey thing.

I hated to see him like this. I had to say something. "She's just being a bitch right now, dude. She'll get over it. And then she'll be chasing the star of the football team or something and forget all about it."

"Yeah...I know." He grunted unconvincingly.

"No...you don't know. I can tell. But I'm telling you the truth when I say that she'll be fine. It's not your fault, ok?" He nodded slowly as we started walking to our next class, and before we split up, I whispered..."If nothing else, remember that I love you enough to make up for any and everybody else in this whole forsaken place. Ok?"

Finally...a genuine smile. "Sigh...how is it that you always know what to say to me?"

"I'd do anything to see you smile. I guess you can say I'm addicted." Ryan gave me a look that shot straight through my eyes and into my very soul. A look that was usually reserved for those moments when we were completely alone. And as I felt myself falling into his trance, I looked away and smiled. "Go...get to class and I'll see you at lunch. K?"

Ryan paused for a second, almost as if he were struggling with the notion of whether or not to kiss me in a hallway full of kids. And then said in a low voice, "Yeah...see you then." Then he rubbed two of his fingers across his lips in a secret kiss, and touched them to my chest...right above my heart. And he walked away. I hope no one can hear me sighing outloud to myself. I hope they can't see my chest deflating as love's infinite energy flowed out of every pore and wrapped its loving arms around me right there in the hallway. It's not that I ever felt like I was taking Ryan for granted, but sometimes I forgot just how incredibly he was and how much he meant to me. To kiss him was a pleasure, the sex was a gift from God himself, and his friendship was the most comforting and positive aspect of my young life. But...somewhere along the line we had given a piece of ourselves to each other that went much deeper than all of that combined. I couldn't quite explain it, but it was there, and he wasn't a part of my life anymore...he WAS my life. Pure and simple. And he could make me realize that time and time again with something as simple as the shine in his beautiful eyes or a brush through his strawberry blond locks. He was so amazing.

I kept those same thoughts of Ryan in my mind for the first half of the day, until I got to the lunch line. That's when I caught a glimpse of the new kid again, and was drawn to him much like the last time. I wish I could explain it, but there was something special about him being out of the closet and dealing with it. Being 'exposed' to everybody here, and not hiding away in some dark corner somewhere hoping that the shame and fear would pass him by and fade away. I guess you could say that I admired him in some way. This was an aspect of being gay that I hadn't really experienced yet. I mean, sure, I was 'out' to Sam and Matt, to Tyler and Ariel, to Ryan...but only because I knew that they were in the same situation. Only because I knew they would understand and accept me for who I am. But as far as other people were concerned...they were the 'enemy', and secrets had to be kept. It's the only thing that I knew from the experiences that I've had. And yet, here was this boy, this beautiful boy, who knew exactly who he was and what he wanted...and he didn't care who knew it. There was a certain heroic quality about that attitude towards his orientation that I was drawn to. Not to mention that his 'gaydar' was pretty damn good! Since he was able to pick me out in the first few minutes of talking to me, or so he says. And yet...I knew that he didn't fit in with the majority of the kids in school. Either they were all straight as an arrow, or were too afraid to say anything to him for fear of being discovered. So he kept to himself most of the time, and a part of me wanted to just let him know that he had a friend if he needed one. That vibe never left me, and it made me decide to try approaching him again that day. Hopefully, this will work out much better than last time.

"Hey...." I said as I walked over to stand behind him in the lunch line.

"Well, well, well...if it isn't the friendliest boy in school." He replied, his green eyes still unbelievably bright with a beauty that's hard to put into words.

"That's me." I answered, hoping that he'd be a little more receptive to a friendly gesture or two.

"How is the pizza in this place? It looks good, but I've been fooled before." He asked.

"Um....actually, it's pretty bad. Try the chicken sandwich instead. Much better."

"Sounds like a deal. Thanks for the info." He said, and almost smiled at me, but not quite. Then he just grabbed a chicken sandwich from the window and went to pay for his food. Wait...was that it? That can't be it.

I thought about it for a quick moment, then said, "Hey Cody..."

He turned around, "Yeah?"

"Did you think any more about joining us for lunch today?" I asked.

"Oh yeah...actually I did." Then he smiled and said, "Nope." And turned to leave.

He walked off and I was left with my mouth hanging open. What the hell was I doing wrong here? Sigh...I should just let it go and quit being a weirdo about it all. Still, something about him seriously held my attention and wouldn't let go. I paid for my food and walked out into the cafeteria to find the table that he was sitting at. There he was, sitting in the same dark little corner, all by himself, and he had already started in on his sandwich. "Good?" I asked.

He looked up and put the sandwich down. "Jesus! What are you, the school's food critic now?"

"I'm trying to talk to you, that's all."

"WHY? I don't get it." He said.

"Sigh...c'mon, am I really all that bad? Besides, you said you'd eat lunch with us today."

"I said MAYBE. A 'maybe' is not a 'yes'. Besides, I always eat lunch with my sister. We'll be just fine, ok? So you can run back to your little table and giggle yourself into a coma for all I care. Just give me some space, will ya?" He picked his sandwich up again and took another bite. "You're starting to get creepy again." He said. And on that not, I took that as a rejection and left without saying another word. Fine. If he wants to be alone and eat lunch with his sister, that's fine. I won't push. I've got friends already! What the hell do I need him for, anyway?

I sat down at the table where Ryan and Tyler were already chit chatting about this and that. But I wasn't focused at all. All I could think about was how this Cody kid brushed me off and basically told me to get lost. I guess Ryan could tell from the look on my face. "NOW who's down in the mouth?" he asked.


"Randy, you've been pouting ever since you came to the table. What's up?" Tyler asked.

"Nothing...I'm fine." I smiled a little and did what I could to change the subject. "So how was your 'walk' this morning, loverboy?"

"Awesome! Even better than what I expected. You know, Ariel really has some interesting views on things. He sees so much beauty in the world that I didn't even notice was there until he told me about it. And he'd always say he was sorry for rambling and clam up, but I kept encouraging him to tell me more!" Tyler sighed and smiled to himself. "You know....I love to just....hear him talk. I love to hear what he has to say. I love...God...I love everything. Just when I think I can't be any more impressed by him...he opens me up to a whole new level of himself and I fall even deeper into my feelings for him, dude. It's soooo incredible."

Ryan smiled at me and said, "So it looks like you two are officially a 'couple' now."

"Um...I dunno...I guess so." Tyler blushed. It was almost like he didn't want to say it. Like he wasn't sure. "We haven't really made any big confessions or anything to each other yet. But I think he might be feeling the same way. You know?"

"Wow...and then what?" I asked, seeing the sudden blush in Tyler's face and enjoying every minute of his infatuation.

"And then...I don't know..." Tyler giggled to himself a bit, fiddling with his can of Sprite with his fingertip. "...I have NO idea what to do with him, you know? He's just...he's really cool. Cute and..." He laughed a bit again and just couldn't stop himself from smiling as wide as his cheeks would allow, "...just cute."

Ryan decided to have some fun with him, and blurted out, "So when do you get to swallow his 'hot baby juices' Ty?" I couldn't help but to laugh out loud and the look of shock on Tyler's face only made it worse!

He reached out and slugged Ryan in the arm! I think, harder than he meant to. But it was just a reflex. "SHUT UP!!! OMIGOD! I don't...he's not like that! GOD Ryan!" Then he hit him again.

"OWWWW! C'mon! I was just fooling around! But don't tell me you haven't thought about it." Ryan said, rubbing his now sore arm.

Tyler looked back and forth, from Ryan, to me, and back to Ryan, in silence. And then he stuttered, "I....I...don't r-r-really...think about that stuff. I just...I like being with him is all." Tyler turned dark red, and his hands began to shake as he reached for something to drink.

"So you never thought about it? Not once?" Ryan added. And I just sat quiet, just happy to watch what was going on at the moment.

"I...THINK about it...yeah. I mean...sure I do. But...it's not that important though..." Tyler said,never lifting his eyes from the lunch table. Wishing that a fire drill would kick in and end this blasphemous conversation about his new and VERY cute little boyfriend.

"Well, we understand that Ty..." I started, but he interrupted me.

"He's cute...so of course I think about it. I mean...I want to. I just...I don't think he really...that is..." Tyler's conversation was cut short as two of our old friends approached the table. It was as though the whole room stopped for us as Sam and Matt made an appearance in the cafeteria for the first time in a looong time.

"Hey...." Sam said just above a whisper, not knowing how Tyler was going to take their presence in our once happy little circle of friends. Matt kept silent, afraid to even speak until he knew how things were going to go.

Tyler was frozen, not quite sure what to say to his former 'boyfriends' from the not too distant past. I think the shock kept him from speaking for a second and two, and Matt was almost ready to turn and leave. So I spoke up, "Hey guys! Long time no see." I said, and I looked over to Ryan for a little assistance.

He got the message, "Yeah...we were beginning to think you were too good to eat with us anymore." We tried to make it friendly enough, but we could tell that they were waiting for Tyler to say something before they sat down. What's worse, it didn't look like he was going to open his mouth any time soon. "Why don't you guys grab a seat?" Ryan added, giving them a bit of a push to make things easier.

Sam looked over at Tyler, who looked back down to his tray of food and kept his silence. "Um...actually...I think we're just gonna go and eat outside. We just...we just wanted to stop by and say hello."

"No...that's not necessary. C'mon, why don't you join us for old times sake?" I said, hoping Tyler would jump in. He didn't.

"Are...are you guys sure it's ok?" Matt whispered, visibly shaking now.

"Yeah, of course we're sure. It'll be good to have you back with us again. Besides..." Ryan started, but before he could finish, Tyler grabbed his stuff and quickly sprung up from the table.

"Ty..." I called out to him, but he just kept walking without another word spoken. I couldn't do anything but sigh to myself and recognize the fact tht it just might have been a bit too early for Sam and Matt to hang out with us again. I knew Tyler was still hurting a lot over losing what he had with the two of them, but I kinda thought that with Ariel being the new apple of his eye and all, he'd be willing to put some of that pain to rest. Maybe not. Maybe he'll be hurt forever, who knows? That's the way it seemed at that moment.

The table fell silent, and Sam and Matt were almost too ashamed to speak. "Sorry man...we didn't mean to ruin everything with you guys by being here." Matt mumbled sadly.

"I think we're just gonna go. Maybe we'll get together some other time." Sam said, and the both of them took their lunch out to eat somewhere else.

"Well we certainly botched THAT up." I didn't even try to smile when I said it either.

"Yeah. But Ty is a strong kid when he wants to be. He's been stewing over this for a while now, and it's easy to put it out of his mind when they're not around. Maybe now he'll think it over a little more and face it." Ryan added.

"You think so?"

"I'm pretty sure. Tyler's got his hands too full with Ariel right now to stay down for longer than a few minutes."

"Here's hoping." I looked over my shoulder to the corner to see Cody still eating and smiling with his sister, and Ryan asked me what was up. "Oh...it's that new guy from the city, Cody. He just transfered here a day or two ago..."

"That's Cody over there? Ohhhh....I heard about him."

"Heard about him?" I asked.

"Yeah...he's gay right?" I looked at Ryan and was temporarily dumbfounded.

"You HEARD that?"

"Of course. Dude, practically everyone knows by now. Word travels fast around here, especially about something like that." Ryan looked a bit closer and smiled, "He's kinda cute. I bet he'll be kicking down a few closet doors around school once the 'undercover queens' get a look at him."

"I doubt they'll be undercover for long." I said.

"What do you mean?"

"I talked to him yesterday...nothing major...and e could TELL!" Ryan gave me an inquisitve look.

"Could tell what?"

I widened my eyes a bit to make him get the picture. "You know...he could TELL..."

Suddely it clicked, "Oohhhhhhhh....oh my God. Are you sure?"

"YES! It was like some kind of mind reading trick. He says he could tell from the moment he met me. I mean...I'm not giving off any kind of 'scent' am I?"

"Well...you ARE kinda faggy." Ryan giggled. nd that little comment was rewarded with a well placed kick to his shin under the table.

"Very funny, smartass!" I turned to look again, and I think Cody caught me that time. But he didn't seem to care one way or the other. "I was trying to meet him, but he doesn't seem to want any friends other than his sister for the time being."

"I suppose it's understandable. I mean the whispers have been kinda harsh around school. It's gotta be tough on him, especially being new and all."

"I'm sure it is. I guess that's why I was trying so hard to make him feel more at home. His sister might be the only one he can really trust. And I'll bet the kids here were just waiting for some juicy gossip like this to come along so they could exploit it from every angle and make up whatever facts they couldn't hear from somebody else."

"Kinda like we're doing now?" Ryan grinned.

I couldn't help but admit it, "Yeah...I guess we are, aren't we? Well...I'm interested, so there!" I said, then sticking my tongue out at him.

"See what I mean? Faggy!" Another kick, delivered for another cheapshot. "Hehehe, alright, I'll stop." Then, Ryan lowered his voice a bit and moved closer. "Speaking of relentless gossip...I hear his ex-boyfriend is supposedly quite the hottie. Sam says that he's in his Geometry class, and from the moment he walked in until the bell rang, he was the center of attention. He said even the teacher looked like he was catching a glance or two. I figure, THIS is something I just HAVE to see!"

"Hehehe, well Cody doesn't speak too highly of him at all."

"Say what you will, but it looks like we've got a new boy at the top of the 'Heart Throb' charts."

"I doubt he could take your title, sweetie." I smiled.

Ryan smiled back, and with a loving look in his eye, he said..."Dude...you are SO gay! No WONDER he could tell!" This time he got up before I had a chance to punish him with another kick, and picked his tray up as he was literally saved by the lunch bell.

We walked back to my locker, and Ryan stayed a moment or two before hitting his next class. "No Ariel today. I'm kinda surprised. I never thought he'd pass up another opportunity to gawk at his wonderful blond prince." Ryan said.

"Knowing Ariel, he was probably busy cleaning up one of his many accidents around school. He's gotta be setting some kind of record with the amount of hours he's been logging in detention." I answered. "Besides, I think he was a bit embarrassed by us this morning."

"We're going to have to stop doing that, you know?"

"Yeah, I know. But it's so damn sweet to watch!"

"True, but honestly speaking...I mean, I know we were just kidding around and all...but do you really think the two of them will...'you know'...?"

"Hook up?" I asked with a grin, and I can't explain why, but actually thinking about it was enough to almost make me blush for the both of them. "Wow...I don't know. I doubt that they'll be just making eyes at each other forever. It's GOT to lead to something eventually."

Ryan had the biggest grin just 'invade' his entire face, "Dude...that is going to be an event. Hehehe!"

"Ariel is going to giggle for an entire WEEK!" I smirked. "I'm glad though. They're getting to know each other a bit and the rest will all work out on its own. Frankly, I don't know how they keep their hands off of each other as it is, outside of being a bit shy. They just need to spend some more time together is all."

"Speaking of which, do I get to see you after school today, or what?" Ryan smiled.

"You've actually got some time for me, 'homework boy'?"

"Hey, I was falling a bit behind. I'm trying to stay on my dad's good side for as long as possible so maybe I can get a car of my own sometime soon. When my hold on my grades loosens up, the hold on his wallet gets tighter."

"Sounds like a plan to me. I'll meet ya out front later on then?"

"Cool, see ya then." He said, and gently brushed some hairs out of his eyes before turning to walk away. Sighhhh...watching him walk away from me, I mentally gave his smooth, lithe body a long lick. Mmmm! God how I love to be close to that boy. I grabbed my stuff out of the locker and jumped down from 'cloud 9' long enough to get to class. A few more hours in this dump, and then...playtime. Life is good.

I saw Ariel setting up for a new chalk drawing when I came into my art class later on, and had his sketchbook sitting in his lap. "Sup Ariel?"

"Hey..." He replied. Quiet, but with a bit of a smile. He was silent for a second, drew one long line on his page with the chalk, and then put it down again. "I gave it to him, you know?" He said.

"Gave what, to who?"

He rolled his eyes a bit with a cute grin on his face, "The sketch...I inked it all in without actually screwing it up. And I gave it to Tyler this morning and told him he could keep it."

"Wow, that's sweet of you."

"Awww, you should have seen his face. I think he really liked it." He whispered, trying to hold back from letting out a spontaneous giggle. "He's going to frame it. I think that's so cool...I've never had anything of mine framed before."

I nodded, and feeling a bit mischievous, I said, "Yeah, that's awesome. You'll have to go over there and see it displayed as it was meant to be seen, huh?"

"Yeah....hehehehe...I guess..." Ariel's cheeks blushed pink, and he picked up the chalk again.

"Have you...been over there yet?" I asked.

"To Ty's house? Um...no." He replied, and went back to drawing.

"K, just wondering." I wasn't about to start anything, just guessing as to whether that had ever spent anytime alone. I mean, not just away from me and Ryan and the guys. I mean, actually 'alone'...just the two of them.

There was a long pause, and I honestly figured that he had forgotten about it. But suddenly Ariel blurted, "How come?"

"How come what?"

"Um...You asked if I had ever been over there...how come?" Ariel turned his attention back to his drawing.

"No reason really. I was just curious." I finished setting up my station and all and took some chalk in hand, trying to draw the blocks and boxes in front of me. I'm hardly the artist Ariel is, but I try...

"I mean...he didn't...he didn't, like...SAY anything to you...did he?" Ariel asked, again, out of the blue.

"Nope, not to me." Why do they make us draw boxes' anyway? Why can't they make us draw 'fun' stuff...like Erik Von Detten naked? At least then I could...

"Did he...say something to Ryan...maybe? I mean...you guys talk a lot and stuff..." He said.

"Ariel, dude...it was just a question. I promise you. K? Hehehe!" I replied, seeing a darker shade come to his cheeks.

Another five minutes passed by without a single word, and he nervously started up all over again. "'Cause...you know...I wouldn't mind going over sometime." That was the comment that kind of took me by surprise. I looked over at him, and he immediately snapped his eyes ack to his drawing.

I asked, very 'delicately' I might add, "Soooo...do you want to go over? I mean, I'm sure Tyler would love to show you arond the house and all."

Ariel's hands began to tremble a bit, and the lines of his drawing were becoming more and more off balance. "W-w-well....yeah...sure..." He took a deep breath and was trying to act normal, but the slight shaking in his hands was quickly traveling down into his chest now, and he almost resembled a cold puppy the way he was quaking. "...you know...just for something...um...d-different." Stop the presses folks! I think our timid little schoolboy here just elevated his 'desire' a few notches. I secretly looked down for a second, and saw Ariel pull his sketchbook a bit more into his lap to cover up. Was he actually getting...aroused?

"Oh...ok." I said, still too surprised to even smile at this point. In fact, I was beginning to wonder if I was blushing too. "Well...you should just tell him. Just...for something different."

"Yeah, well, you know...whatever..." He trailed off and went back to drawing again. But it was obvious that his mind was elsewhere, and he would occassionally clutch onto his sketchbook a little bit tighter to his lap. The tension in his arms was enough to make the markings on his paper extra dark and thick. And after a few more minutes of that, it eventually caused the piece of chalk that he was drawing with to break. He glanced at me really quick, but I pretended not to notice. He was really working himself up all of the sudden, but everyone in the room was too busy drawing to really notice. That didn't last long.

Ariel leaned over to pick up the broken pieces of his chalk, but the sketchbook began to tilt and slide off of his lap. For a split second, I could have sworn that I had caught a glimpse of a noticeable tent in his pants. Feeling the sketchbook sliding, Ariel quickly grabbed onto it tighter to not 'blow his cover'. Or anything else for that matter. And let me tell you folks...the LAST thing you want to do to a growing erection that you're trying to hide...is push against it! Because it ALWAYS pushes back! Trying to keep the sketchbook stable in his lap, which was now getting even MORE 'uneven', he accidently knocked his whole box of chalk onto the floor and sent them rolling out over the floor. He tried to quickly grab them before they rolled out of arm's reach and force him to get up from his seat...but that only made things worse. Because while leaning over even further, with his book firmly attached to his groin, his leg swung out and kicked his easel over! The collapsable legs...well...collapsed, and the easel fell forward into the middle of our circle. The easel hit the table that the boxes were sitting on and the display came tumbling down like a house of cards!

Ariel, humiliated yet again by his endless overflow of kinetic energy at work, could only close his eyes and quietly curse himself. His dark hair slid forward slowly, sadly, as his head dropped downward. There were a few grunts of frustration from the other kids in the room, upset because they'd have to start all over again with their drawings, but what really bothered me was Ariel feeling so bad about it. He really doesn't mean to do it, it just sort of happens whenever he gets nervous. Which...for a shy kid like Ariel...was quite often.

"Don't sweat it, dude. I got it." I got down on one knee and lifted his easel back up on its legs. Ariel was too mortified to move, and just covered his face with his hand, trying to hide from the whole world by 'ducking his head in the sand'.

"So STUPID!!!" He whispered to himself. "I'm sooo sorry...I just..."

"Accidents happen." I said back quickly, and I smiled at him as I picked up his box of chalk and put it back up on his bench. A couple of other kids in the class got up to try to repair the display somewhat, and that was pretty much the end of it. We had all grown accostomed to Ariel's cyclone of bad luck, so it was no biggie. It was better than having a bucket of sand in my pants, that's for sure.

Ariel was dead silent for the rest of the class, still embarrassed, but right before the bell rang, I said, "You know, in all honesty...I don't think you have anything to be nervous about."

"I can't help it, Randy, I just get my hands and feet all mixed up..."

"I'm not talking about the accident." I said, and I gave him a look that let him catch back onto our conversation about Tyler's house. His eyes widened a bit, and his blush returned with a vengence. That's when I put my hand on his shoulder, "And like I said..I don't think you have anything to be nervous about." At that moment, I saw Ariel pull his back into his lap, and I decided not to say anymore. I'll just let it be. Next time we could be dealing with something catching on fire or going through a window! One minor disaster is more than enough for today.

The bell rang, and Ariel was able to keep himself 'under control' long enough to gather his things and stand up. He and I walked out of the front door, and Ariel gently tugged at my shirt before I left. "Can I...maybe talk to you about something?"

"Sure, what is it?"

"Not here. It's....kinda private. Um...maybe tomorrow?" He whispered, his boyish eyes staring at me with an innocence that had been temporarily lost for those few moments when the thought of him and Tyler alone had entered his mind earlier.

How could I say no? He wouldn't tell me any more than that, and we said our goodbyes before splitting up for our last class of the day. Ariel's cute, he's shy, he's sweet, he's a virgin...but he's also human. And somehow I just never really thought he entertained any big 'fantasies' until today. It was almost like he was outside of sex somehow. Too 'pure' for us to think of him really being that intimate with another boy. I kinda liked the idea.

Afterschool I found Ryan waiting for me at the end of the hall, but wasn't going to hike it home with me as we had planned afterall. "Sorry man. Look, Wil says he just needs a LITTLE help with some of his physics homework, so I'm gonna meet him in the library for about a half hour, and then it's just you and me. K? Promise." He said, those hazel eyes of his bright enough to hypnotize me into almost anything at this point.

"Alright, but hurry home. I have a taste for Tootsie Rolls today." I grinned.

"I'll bring you a 'sack' full when I finish. Ok?" Ryan giggled, and he took off towards the library. Not bad, it's just a little delay. No biggie. I'll get home, take a shower, and get myself all prettied up for him. I'll be counting the minutes.

As I as leaving, I saw Cody in the parking lot walking to his bus stop. But this time I decided to leave him to his private little bubble and not make myself any more of a pest than I already had. So I kept walking straight ahead and didn't call out to him or anything. Still...I stole a glance or two at him. What can I say, he was pretty to look at. And he had big green pools for eyes, that you could see from a distance and actually guess the color. It was remarkable. But...I kept my mouth shut and just kept walking. "What...no big welcome this time?" He said, finally spotting me.

"Don't worry. I'm not going to bug you today. Just walking home." I answered.

"Well, well, well, the cutie takes a hint." He smiled. Ok, I don't know if that's an insult or if he's just messing around with me, either way, I've got things to do. "Would it help if I said I was sorry about that whole thing at lunch?"

"Huh? What thing...?" I asked.

"Sitting with you guys at lunch. I'm sorry, ok?" Cody was still kinda smiling. I think he liked me more when I wasn't trying to talk to him first. But we both kept walking forward anyway. With JUST enough distance between us to say that we weren't walking 'together', and yet not enough distance to say that we weren't.

"You're...you're apologizing?" I asked, confused.

"I guess you could say that." I didn't know what to say, but with the look of confusion lingering on my face, I guess he knew that he had caught me off guard. "Aww, don't tell me that I've scared you off already? I haven't even reached into my advanced bag of "Insults For Assholes' yet." Cody was actually trying to get my attention for a change, but it was...well...strange, coming from him. I tried to smile a little bit anyway while still walking forward, and thanked him for the apology. That's when Cody moved over a bit and closed the gap between the two of us, walking right beside me. "Look...ever since the whole 'coming out' thing at my last school, I haven't neccessarily been able to take people at face value. I have to be 'careful', you know what I mean? It can make me defensive enough to protect myself if someone is trying to get under my skin. But...it can make me a bit of jerk sometimes too."

"Really? I hadn't noticed." I said sarcastically.

"Hehehe, see? It's rubbing off on you already." He joked. Then he put his hand on my shoulder and stopped me from walking. "Honestly though...don't take me at face value, either. K?" He held out his hand, "Sorry."

I reached out and shook his hand. "Cool. That's cool of you. Thanks." FINALLY! Some kind of breakthrough. "So does that mean you'll eat lunch with us tomorrow?"

"Nope." Cody smiled, hoisted his backpack on his shoulder, and walked off.

"Any particular reason why not?" I shouted after him.

"See you tomorrow, Randy." And with that he was gone. Okaaay...better than yesterday, so I'm making progress. Um...I think.

I got home about a half hour later and dropped my stuff off on my bedroom floor. I have seriously gotta clean this place one day. I took my shirt off to get ready for a quick shower. Ryan should be finishing up any minute and racing home to spend some quality time together. But as soon as I started to unzip my pants, the phone rang. Arrrgh! I'll keep it short and sweet, no biggie. "Hello?"

"HEY!" Said a very happy, as always, Wilson on the other end of the line. So much for keeping it short and sweet.

"Wilson, what's going on man?"

"I'll tell you what's up. I'm not in love anymore. That's why I called. I need to know what to do."

And...the confusion begins. "Not in love anymore? What happened?"

"I dunno." He said matter of factly. He didn't seem to be too broken up about the whole thing. Funny, I don't think it had even been a week. There was a silence as I waited for him to give me some kind of details, but I guess that was going to be all he had planned to tell me. "Are you there, Randy?"

"Yeah. Wilson, why aren't you in love anymore?"

"She's too girly. She doesn't have any good toys or anything. She doesn't even have ONE video game! What the heck do girls DO all day?" He said as I smiled at his new 'discovery' into the world of the opposite sex. "She has a doll or two, but what kind of fun is that? It doesn't move, or have flashing eyes, or guns or anything. It just blinks its eyes and wets itself. I've got a baby cousin that does THAT!"

Time's a wasting. "Listen, Wilson, I'm going to have to call you back, ok?"

"Ok..." He said, but then just went on, "So, I was wondering what I should do now. I mean...should I call her a 'bitch' or something?"

"What???" I said in a mixture of shock and amusement.

"A bitch. Bryan's older brother has had a bunch of girlfriends, and whenever he breaks up with them, he calls them a bitch. I think that's what you're supposed to do to feel better."

"Wilson...I don't think you should call her a bitch."

"Oh...ok. What should I call her then? I heard Bryan's brother call someone a slut one time, but I think that's something different. Because she hasn't had sex with the mailman. I think you have to have sex with the mailman first."

"Hahaha....Wilson! I don't think you should call her anything, ok? And NO more lessons from Bryan's brother." I said, but I don't think Wilson grasped the concept of leaving it alone.

"Ok, if you say so."

"Now, I really have to go, but I'll call you this weekend. Alright?" I started undressing as I wrapped up the conversation, stumbling a bit as I took of my pants. He agreed, and I was actually able to say goodbye without a lot of other phone 'hangtime'. Poorkid, hehehe, he must not be used to HIM being the one confused for a change.

I hopped in the shower, letting the warm water run through my hair, and wash over my body. Trying hard not to get too excited. I wanted to be with Ryan all afternoon if I could, and I didn't want to waste good 'erection' time alone, and suddenly be ready to explode by the time he got home. And to think, he was mine. All mine. The very thought of it was so surreal sometimes. So...unbelievably impossible. Wow...sometimes I even surprise myself at how much I still get nervous about the idea of him being with me. How I still feel that surge of energy rush through me whenever I see him smile. Boys like Ryan were meant to be admired from afar. They're supposed to be chased by every single good looking boy and girl on the planet...no one is actually supposed to CATCH him. Sigh, but I did. I caught him. And only because he slowed down enough to let me. I was in love. So in love.

I finished up and stepped out of the shower. Clean as a whistle, my skin soft and loose from the wet heat of a relaxing hot shower. And I wiped a little 'window' into the mirror so I could see my reflection through the steam. And even though I was still looking at that same, plain, brown haired, blue eyed boy that I was looking at on that first gloomy day that I laid eyes on the angel that would change my life around...the image in front of me seemed so much more complete. Staring into my own eyes, I couldn't help but smile. I had grown. Changed over time, with experiences and emotions that I never thought I'd go through. With ordeals I never thought I'd survive. And with the help of good friends that I never thought I'd have. It's easy to look at where you are in life and say that things can be better. But it's only when you look at where you've BEEN...that you can hold your head up and say that things ARE better. It's during those moments of clarity that life shows its true colors, and the beauty of it all is beyond overwhelming.

I had almost lost myself in my thoughts when I heard the phone ring. Yes! My prince has come home! "I'll be over in a minute!" I told him.

"Can't wait. I love you." I could sense Ryan's boyish smile, even over the phone, and was instantly covered in goosebumps again.

"I love you more." I got dressed and hurried down the street to his house. As soon as he opened the door, I charged in and closed it behind me.

"Hehehe, that was fast." He said with a sensual haze in his voice.

"Not fast enough." I said, wrapping my arms around his neck, and kissing him sweetly on the lips.

"Mmmm..." Ryan moaned. "Alone at last."

I kissed him over and over, as we made our way back to the stairs and up to his room. We shut the door to his bedroom and spun around slowly, the best 'waltz' we could do while kissing heavily. Then, I leaned back just far enough, and looked into his hazel eyes, half closed with desire. I ran one of my hands up to his head, and let my fingertips wander through the wisps of his strawberry blond hair slowly. I studied the beauty of his eyes, the silky texture of his hair, his flawless skin...everything was perfection. I let my hand slip down to trace the smoothness of his pink lips, and he kissed them with such gentle grace that it sent a shiver all the way up my arm. I looked at him dreamily, and a big smile appeared on my face. That smile, soon turned nto a slight giggle.

"Hehehe....what?" Ryan grinned.

"It's still so hard to believe that you're real. That you're here with me...holding me. Sigh...it's hard to grasp the concept that you could ever love me." I whispered.

"If you could see yourself through my eyes..." He leaned in and kissed me softly, "...there wouldn't be a doubt in your mind." Our kissing got even more passionate, and he backed me up to sit on the bed. "You smell good."

"NOW who's being a fag?" I smiled.

Ryan simply gave me the finger, and kissed me on the forehead. "I'm going to take a shower."

He backed away and lifted his shirt over his head. I whimpered out loud, "Awww...what's that about?"

"Hehehe, you get to take a shower, and I don't? That's not quite fair."

"How about a tongue bath, instead?" I said with a wink.

"How about you just keep looking pretty while I go clean up?"

"You mean I have to wait even longer?"

Ryan took me gently by the hand, and put it against his smooth stomach. "Unless, of course, you want to join me?" My hand traveled downward to the top of his pants, stopping to let my fingers slightly dip into the dent of his belly button, and I began to undo his belt.

"I already took a shower today." I said, seeing a bulge begin to form in the front of his jeans.

"Mmmm...not with me, you haven't. I guarantee you...it'll be much more interesting." He whispered with his eyes closed, and I leaned forward to move my face back and forth across the still growing erection in front of me. I opened my mouth to tenderly chew at it through the fabric, feeling it jump in anticipation for more. Ryan let out a tiny whimper and began rubbing his hands over my back and shoulders for a few minutes, before backing up and pulling me to my feet. His eyes gazed into mine, and held their stare as he led me towards the bathroom. I walked with him as though I were lost in a trance, and we shut the door. We slowly undressed one another while trading soft angelic kisses here and there, until we were both completely nude. His body still amazes me, everytime. He bent over to turn on the water, and I reached out with both hands to massage the soft globes of perfection turned up in my direction. My hands rubbed them in small circles, giving them gentle squeezes, and eventually moving up his sides to stand him back up and let his sweet lips meet mine once again. He was the first to step into the shower, and I followed. He hit the knob and the shower water fell down on us like a warm summer rain. I just wanted him to be close to me, to feel every inch of him feeling every inch of me. I was breathless.

"We haven't done this in a long time." He smiled.

"Not since the hotel, I think. Our first time being truly alone. You remember that?" I whispered, and Ryan moved forward to hug me close while kissing me on my neck. Our nakedness, slick with water and sliding against one another.

"Yeah...that weekend made me realize that nothing meant more to me than laying next to you. Waking up and being able to hold you." He kissed me more, his hands now running down my back to grip my cheeks and knead them with his palms. I moaned out loud, and his head moved to kiss me on the other side of the neck. "God...we have been through sooo much."

As I felt hi sucking at my neck with more passion, I spoke up, "Yeah...like you giving me a hickey. Ahem!" I giggled a bit as he laughed into my neck.

"Hey...it made you a stud, didn't it?" He smiled. "Next thing you knew, you were being invited to make out parties, and Jenny, and sweet sweet Ariel..."

"Yeah yeah, whatever. I also remember having to walk around with that damn thing on my neck for days. It's a panic attack I don't need again." I said, giving his ass a gentle swat. "You got me?"

"Yeah...definitely." Ryan moved in to kiss me again, but something went wrong. We heard a noise from downstairs. It wasn't much, it just sounded like a dishes settling in the sink or something, but we were quiet for a second to make sure that that was ALL it was. We waited in silence, and were about to relax when we heard the rustling of grocery bags in the kitchen! "SHIT!!!!" Ryan whispered loudly, shutting the shower off immediately. "My DAD'S home early!!!"

I felt my heart drop down into my chest and it began to nervously beat as hard as possible! We jumped out of the shower and started drying ourselves off rapidly. He HAD to have heard the shower running when he came in. Dammit! How could we not hear him coming in the front door? We were too preoccupied to pay that much attention. "Here!" Ryan whispered, throwing me my boxers and pants. "It's going to be REALLY weird if he catches us in here. He's willing to make an acception for the whole 'gay son with a boyfriend' thing...but the 'sex in the shower' thing might be a bit much. He's gonna flip!"

I was getting dressed as fast as I could. "What are we gonna do?"

"We've gotta sneak you out of here." He looked around for his shirt, then remembered that he left it on his bedroom floor. We were trying to think. "Ok...ok...um..." He paced back and forth a bit, and said, "I'm gonna go out first and try to distract him in the kitchen. Then, when you hear me rattle the dishes, you sneak downstairs and go out the front door. QUIETLY! K?"

"Gotchya!" I agreed. The last thing I needed was for Ryan's dad to give me that...that...LOOK! That discomfort in his eyes that just wished I would disappear and let his only son get back to being normal. How could we be so stupid? We should have saved this for Matt's place!

"Ok....here goes." He said, thenhe quickly kissed me on the lips. "I love you, k? I'll call you in a few minutes."

"Right." I said, and Ryan opened the door to go downstairs. I made sure that my clothes were all fixed right, and I used the towel to dry my hair as much as possible. I was trembling as I heard Ryan greet his dad and take him into the kitchen to finish putting the groceries. I waited suspensefully for the signal, and that's when I heard the rattle of a few plates next to the sink. I walked carefully out of the bathroom, and began creeping down the steps. I took each step at a snail's pace, hoping that they wouldn't squeek or creak and give me away.

I was almost home free, and when I hit the bottom step, I hurriedly moved towards the front door. But as soon as my hand landed on the handle, Ryan's dad came around the corner. Caught red handed. He looked at me and said, "Randy? I'm sorry, I didn't know you were here." It was pleasant enough. Maybe, just maybe, I could get away with this.

"Um...YEAH...actually, I just stopped by for a minute or two to say hi. I really should get going." I said.

Ryan peeked his head around the corner, cringing at the sight of me standing there in front of his dad. "Yeah, I'll see you later dude." He was a bit nervous, and his voice was shaking. I've got to get out of here. But when Ryan spoke, his dad looked back at him, and saw his hair still wet from the shower. Shirtless. And...acting a bit abnormal. He looked back at me, and I froze. Dammit! I FROZE! If I had just scrambled out of there a little faster, he wouldn't have seen the look of terror on my face. He wouldn't have seen the guilt in my eyes. And...

He wouldn't have seen that single drip of water fall from my hair and run down the side of my neck. We were both there, he heard the shower, we were both wet...it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what was going on. There was a long silence. A single eternal moment where all three of us connected and the truth was revealed. Ryan's dad looked at me, his eyes filled with some strange emotion that I couldn't quite place. Not quite anger, not quite disappointment, not quite shock...just...something weird that I could tell he was aiming at me. And neither one of us knew what the hell to say.

"Dad...I can explain..." Ryan said.

"I'll see you later Randy." His dad's voice was low, but dead serious.

"I'm sorry..." I started, but he interrupted me by holding his hand up and not looking at me as he pointed the front door out to me.

"Goodbye Randy." He repeated. I looked at Ryan, who was just as scared as I was, but gave me the nod to leave it alone.

I wanted to say goodbye to my boyfriend, but saying another word might have done even more damage than I already had. I couldn't do anything...but leave. As I closed the door, I heard voices. Getting a bit louder with every sentence, and his dad eventually shouting "I don't want to HEAR it, Ryan!" This was not good. Not good at all.

As I slowly walked back to my house, hoping that Ryan would be able to calm his dad down long enough to explain, I wondered if maybe my perfect vision of life and beauty was an illusion. One that I could throw myself into every now and then to shield myself from the reality that we did NOT have a perfect relationship. Not with all the secrets. Sigh...I bet if HAILEY had been caught his dad wouldn't be so pissed. This is unfair. This is SO unfair! We're in LOVE! Why does anything else besides that matter? Why can't the world just leave us alone.

I went home and laid on my bed, staring up at the ceiling. Somehow I doubted that Ryan would get the chance to call me. And if he did, it would be late at night after his dad went to sleep or something 'sneaky' like that. Whatever. Despite all of the things that make love so wonderful and amazing... the opinions of 'other people' aren't one of them.

I hope you liked this brand new chapter of the "New Kid In School" series! As the first erotic story I ever wrote, I never expected to be so proud of it, and all of the other stories on the site that have spawned from it. After three and a half years, I'm happy to say that the series is still going strong. And I'll write more soon, I promise! :) Please feel free to let me know what you think at Comicality@webtv.net or stop by the website for our "100th Story: Centennial Celebration" at http://www.ghouldrool.com/comicality/ and party with us!!! Kewl? Seezya later, and thanks for being a part of the Shack Out Back!